Coffee Bar Gig


Some weeks ago now we were discussing Southsea’s Coffee Bars and the subject has been revived with a Comment by ‘Chris’ (for which many thanks). We have a number of ‘Bloggers’ called Chris so not sure which one here, but I’m particularly intrigued by the reference to the band – given the dates (1966/7), it can’t have been THE High Numbers since they were the Who by 1965 but maybe another band took that name? Anyone else have any memories of live music there?

“The Bistro – about 1966/1967 – when I lived for a while in Whitwell Road – I used to go in there some afternoons as a daytime coffee bar – and some summer evenings. Memory says it was painted mostly white walls. Tables for 4 at both sides in the front part with a few tables for 2 at back left? Used to be an interesting mix of youngish folk used it; and there were some fair-looking young women could be sometimes seen there and talked with… One evening/night I saw a live band upstairs there – smallish room – don’t think it had a stage – Band at the back – can’t remember if they were The Action or The High Numbers (?) – energisingly lively, loud sounds. Maybe the room would have held – 60 to 80 people? About 50 there that night? I think the stairs led down from corner of that music room – with a turn – to the back of the cafe…”


Author: pompeypop

University lecturer, longtime local musician and recently historian of popular music - especially in and around Portsmouth. My blog is entirely about that topic

5 thoughts on “Coffee Bar Gig

  1. Firstly not me!
    The layout sounds like the Bistro but neither band would be playing a gig as small as this and if they had it would’ve gone down in Pompey folklore and been discussed on these pages a long time ago!
    A popular drug with certain people in Pompey at that time was Artane that apparently gave very realistic hallucegenic situations as opposed to the distortion a of LSD
    Just a thought!

  2. Oliver Sacks [“Hallucinations” and “The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat] experimented with Artane, as did an old mate of ours out at Liphook in the mid – 60’s, who found himself virtually “stuck” to the ceiling in his bedroom on one occasion and on another thought that an Alsatian dog was sitting in the seat next to him at The Odeon Southsea. Why would you want that?
    No the film wasn’t Lassie.

  3. Gotta be careful using that stuff if you have enlargement of the the prostate.

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